Fat Green Bike Lane on Lamar Begins Its Creep Across Downtown

Construction of Lamar St. Bike Lane, Downtown Houston

Construction of Lamar St. Bike Lane, Downtown HoustonOver the weekend construction began on the new bikeway meant to connect the heavily used trails along Buffalo Bayou west of Downtown with the Columbia Tap trail on Downtown’s east side — and from there to the trails along Brays Bayou and the Medical Center. The 2 blocks of Lamar St. between Smith and Bagby now have this green zone installed along their southern side, replacing curbside parking spaces on the one-way street. Additional construction is scheduled for every weekend between now and March 8, when the steadily growing green bike path will reach Discovery Green.


Construction of Lamar St. Bike Lane, Downtown Houston

The lane is scheduled to open in March.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Bayou Bike Connector

36 Comment

  • This is the worst thing to happen to downtown Houston since they decided to have sidewalks for pedestrians. The next thing you know, they’ll be getting rid of the abundant surface parking lots and replacing them with buildings where people live, work, and play.

  • Beautiful, we need way more like it!

  • Since this is my daily route home, I will report back as to how the evening police officers decide how to handle traffic exiting garages across this route. They always reserve a lane, and sometimes 2 lanes. Let’s see if open traffic can be narrowed down to 1 or 2 lanes (sarcasm). Not sure what they plan to do when they get to the Hilcorp block (old Macy’s block) as construction is currently using the lane that will eventually be dedicated to this bike lane.

  • How much did that waste of a lane cost us?

  • Hmmm. Not sure I want to ride my bike in that, based on the pictures.

  • Wait, so if this is a one way street and bike lane is two way, when will the opposing bike traffic know when to go? Or will they just ignore all rules of the road as usual? Who gets the right of way when a car is turning and has to cross the bike lanes?
    I suppose it won’t be a big problem since there will be only two bikes a day to use this anyway.

  • From what I can see in one of the pics, it looks like the exits from parking garages are clear. It’s very possible there will be stop or yield signs on either side, which means cyclists will have to on the look out, not drivers exiting the garages.

    I’ve seen these work very well in Seattle, so for those who are opposed to this, quit yer whining until you see for yourself whether it works or not.

  • Looks awesome! We need more of this!

  • Re: OhBrother

    I believe that these funds came from a federal grant back in 2012, but there was a delay due to the manufacturing of the ‘armadillos’ they are using to separate the bike lanes from the main lanes.

    Googling produced info that says bike lanes are approximately $10,000/mile to build, but that feels low to me.

  • Is that… Astroturf??

  • High level executives and young professionals can now cycle with a little more ease during their gasoline free route to work. At least 50-60 days a year, the other 300+ may be a little hot.

  • Cars exiting garages already have to yield to vehicles (bikes or cars) that are already in the road. So, why are we pretending this is some big issue?

  • I’ll be able to access this from my house so I’m certainly not against it. It would be nice to be able to ride a bike all the way to Discovery Green. I’m not sure I would like to be riding a bike past all those garage exits though. Even walking past them can be a dangerous prospect downtown. Sometimes the people exiting just cannot see you. Some of the garage exits have alarms that sound when someone is coming out so you know to stay out of the way.

  • Ignore the haters. This is a huge benefit for people who commute to downtown by bike (it’s a lot more than two). Cutting across downtown can be extremely dangerous on a bike as cyclists are forced to risk being hit from behind by riding in the traffic lane or hit by a door riding in the parking lane. This will add a measure of sanity. Great to see a bike lane that actually has a physical barrier between cars and bikes.

  • @ JE Real Estate

    I cycle to work approximately 200 days a year. Heat has never been much of an issue at 7AM or 6PM.

  • @JE_Real_Estate

    Obviously you’ve never been near the bayou trails on the weekend. Thousands of people use them every weekend and this will expand the network to one of the cities greatest parks. I guess it’s hard to see from Cypress.

  • Oy vey. Less lane s in downtown. Similar to Smith St. south of Pierce Elevated: the same car count but 2 lanes from Gray to Tuam. A nightmare at afternoon rush hour. Now this. Annise strikes again. Glad she’s term limited !!!!!

  • Will cyclists quit complaining for a few weeks now?

  • And there are anal orifice drivers who WILL run into / hit the cyclists and NOT care. Just wait for it on the news… I give ’em less than 6 months & we’ll be hearing it on a local news report… Cause some drivers ARE arrogant, rude,inconsiderate,DANGEROUS “drivers” who think they own the road. We all OWN the roads , but some people are WAY more courteous than some other drivers.

  • Clearly there is only one way to live and commute into downtown Houston. Whoever disagrees with me or tries to tell me there should be any alternative ways is completely wrong. Until we all believe the same things and live the exact same way, no one is right!

  • How are they going to handle vehicle turns off lamar across the bike lanes?

  • I wonder if critical mass will bike inside the lanes or just take over the entire street ‘because awareness’

  • I remember when Mayor Brown did this same thing with a bucket of white paint. Presto! Miles of bike lanes.

  • Now that there is dedicated bike lanes, please enforce this as the official critical mass route. I am tired of watching hipster take over downtown.

  • @dag – I got stuck in a critical mass rally once. It didn’t inconvenience me that much and it was interesting to watch but I did witness about 7 near collisions of cyclists into a few cars in front of me who kept thinking it was over before a new wave showed up and they were just trying to back out of their diagonal spaces. These guys are maniacs and bullies and someone is going to get seriously hurt.

  • Chris M (2) – It’s not Astroturf, but a VERY GREEN paint.
    I am not against dedicated bike lanes, it’s just the choice of street to put this lane on. Lamar is a major artery out of downtown and there are 9 garages exiting onto Lamar in 9 blocks beginning with the Houston Center Club parking garage. Of these 9 garages, 7 will exit across these bike lanes. This doesn’t include the new Hilcorp building currently under construction (old Macy’s). Currently, the Hilcorp construction is using the lane that will be eventually the bike lane. I ride my bike around town and enjoy the new and much improved trails along the bayous. I also have worked downtown for 35 years and know how autos and bikes have traveled around downtown. If I were riding my bike, I would rather ride down a lesser traveled street east to west than one where every 1/2 block, I would have to contend with a garage exit (stop sign for cyclist) or traffic light. Polk Street seems to be a better choice and parallels the Green Street complex.
    As for auto traffic and the loss of a lane on an already very congested street, Lamar’s traffic is already a nightmare at rush hour. Since so many garages exit onto Lamar, the loss of a lane just adds to the gridlock. It’s not unusual to sit through 5 light cycles waiting to cross Main street.

  • Theoretically, shouldn’t this reduce automobile traffic due to an increase in bicycle commuting? Less cars = less car traffic means there’s no need for more lanes. Of course, this is all in theory.

    Bicycles are to be treated as automobiles. Without bike lanes, cyclists will be riding in car lanes, slowing down car traffic. Now, all of you complaining about bike lanes–do you want that? Do you?!! Just think about it. And, I drive a car.

    It just sounds to me as if car drivers don’t want ANY cyclists on the road–ever. That isn’t going to happen. Rock ‘n’ roll. Deal with it.

  • Now build some of these in midtown and montrose also.

  • @Heightsresident thank you for the first hand clarification of my assumption.
    @HeyHeyHouston Obviously you were offended by my lunchtime boredom commentary. I have been on the bayou trail at the weekends and have seen the thousands of people out there. Didn’t see any high level execs or young professionals on their way to work though….. Fierce blow with the Cypress comment. Why don’t you go hug one of the trees in one of the cities greatest parks.

  • I would love the Heights blvd. bike lane to be painted green with arrows. This would help drivers recognize which space belongs to a given mode of transport. Arrows would prevent ‘salmoning’ which I see occasionally.

  • @commonsense
    I believe the plans call for bicycle specific traffic signals so that the bike lane opposing traffic knows when they can legally go forward. I’ve seen this concept done well and done horribly wrong in other cities and I think this is the right plan. It makes it much safer for everyone (cars and bikers) to separate bikers into bike lanes and give them separate traffic signals. It also takes away the stress of having to get around a biker that is (legally) taking up half a traffic lane. I’m a driver and I support this. I agree that the route may not be the best but I think overall the plan is good and we should have more lanes like this around Midtown and Montrose.

  • This sort of thing is done really well in The Hague. Here’s a picture that illustrates the separate pedestrian (grey), bicycle (red), and car (black) lanes. The color scheme is consistent throughout the city; actually throughout all of the parts of the Netherlands that I visited. As you can see, the peds have a fairly standard walk/don’t walk signal and crosswalk markings, and the bikes have their own signal and lane markings too. This arrangement keeps the bikes safe from the cars and texting pedestrians, and the pedestrians safe from both the bikes and the cars.


  • So how exactly does this connect to the Heavily Used Columbia Tap trail on the East Side?

  • As a longtime Inner Loop resident (and Houstonian), this idea is just ridiculous on many levels. Downtown is heavily congested and taking away a perfectly useful lane for cars AND bikes to just give to bikes is only adding to the gridlock of this city.
    All I can hope for is that the city and their master planners keep their “Eye of Sauron” away from the medical center since it is already a cluster flock there.

  • @ Major Market

    That’s exactly what they said about similar lanes in New York City. Turns out that traffic has actually moved better after the installation of bike lanes in midtown. On top of it, safety is vastly improved.

  • I’ve used this lane to commute to a few soccer games at BBVA. It’s quite functional. At the signaled intersections, the bikes have their own red/green light that faces the bike lane and is in the shape of a bicycle, so its purpose is quite clear. The bike lane gets its green light a few seconds ahead of the automobile traffic to give cyclists a head start.
    The only tricky parts I’ve found so far are (1) an awkward left turn where the green bike track goes from the right lane of northbound Crawford onto the left lane of westbound Lamar and (2) a little stretch of Polk crossing Avenida De Las Americas where cars turning right on red aren’t looking for bikes traveling opposite the direction of the one-way car traffic on Polk. I find that a very loud “HI!” or “HEY!” or “GOOD MORNING!” gets their attention. I tried carrying an air horn, but my voice is louder and more quickly accessible.
    Rules of the road: BE VISIBLE. BE PREDICTABLE. Don’t be afraid to BE LOUD.